News: Telephone numbers of some 40 Indian journalists figure in a “leaked list of potential targets for surveillance”, and forensic tests were said to have “confirmed that some of them were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using Pegasus software.
About Pegasus Spyware:
Pegasus is spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices) running some versions of Apple’s mobile operating system iOS, and Android.
It was developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group, which states that it provides “authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime”, has published sections of contracts requiring customers only to use its products for criminal and national security investigations, and stated that it has an industry-leading approach to human rights.
Definitions to remember:
Phishing: When cybercriminals try to get sensitive information from you, like credit card numbers and passwords. Some specific techniques include spear phishing (targets specific people or departments), whale phishing (targets important people like CEOs), and SMiShing (phishing via text messages) and vishing (voice phishing that takes place over the phone, usually through impersonation).
Spoofing:When cybercriminals try to get into your computer by masquerading as a trusted source. Examples include email spoofing (using email header that appears to be from someone you trust), IP spoofing (using a fake IP address to impersonate a trusted machine) and address bar spoofing (using malware to force you to view a specific web page).
Spyware:Malware that gathers information about you, usually to track your internet use and deliver pop-up ads.
2. FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE
News: An evaluation by the global organisation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to analyse the effectiveness of India’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regime has been postponed for the second time in view of the pandemic and is now slated to be initiated next year.
About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF), also known by its French name, Groupe d’action financière (GAFI), is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.
The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
FATF is a “policy-making body” that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
FATF monitors progress in implementing its Recommendations through “peer reviews” (“mutual evaluations”) of member countries.
Since 2000, FATF has maintained the FATF blacklist (formally called the “Call for action”) and the FATF greylist (formally called the “Other monitored jurisdictions”).
3. GREAT BARRIER REEF
News: A top Chinese official said on Sunday that political tensions between Beijing and Australia were not behind a UNESCO recommendation to place the Great Barrier Reef on its endangered list.
About Great Barrier Reef:
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).
The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
The Great Barrier Reef has been put on a list of World Heritage sites that could be put on the in-danger list after losing half of its corals since 1995.